Healthy Living

Walking 2,500 Miles Closer to the Cure for Parkinson's

Walking 2,500 Miles Closer to the Cure for Parkinson's

Photo: Bill Bucklew. Source:

Being diagnosed with diseases that are notoriously known to be severe and degenerative have its pitfalls physically, emotionally, and financially. For a middle-class man who has his own shared experiences of visiting doctors for checkups and medical emergencies, one would agree that medical bills and hospitalization can be costly. Although this may depend on the degree of emergency or medical problem, paying for one’s health and maintenance can take up a huge percent of one’s savings.

For people who are diagnosed and are currently living with serious and chronic medical conditions, such as HIV, diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, heart disease, cancer, and Parkinson’s, the amount that one has to pay for medicine and laboratory checkups can be very steep and expensive.

On a lighter note, certain campaigns have come to rise to help resolve this problem. They are mostly spearheaded by people who share similar experiences or from concerned families and active medical researchers. Whoever they may be, they all share the same goal and that is helping improve the lives of so many people suffering from serious medical problems such as Parkinson’s.

Issues in Healthcare and Costs of Treatment for Parkinson’s

A great problem now in society is that not every patient has access to medications and doctor appointments due to their high costs. This scenario could lead to even worse problems when serious medical conditions go undiagnosed or disregarded. In a 2015 article by Dr. Howard LeWine, M.D., chief editor of Harvard Health Publications, 8% of adult Americans cannot have access to prescribed medicine due to their incapability to afford them. In addition to that, 6% of younger adults with access to private health insurance would rather save their money than spend it on medicine, and 14% of adults under the federal poverty line simply cannot afford the medicine they need.

In a more recent survey, the American Federal Reserve Board saw that 44% of adult Americans have difficulties in gathering at least $400 during cases of emergencies without asking help from other people or selling off their possessions. These types of scenarios in America alone show the devastating reality that healthcare is not an easy reach to thousands of people. Over the years, people have turned to charities and agencies to help pay for hospitalization and pharmaceuticals.

In the case of Parkinson’s disease, the course of the disease is chronic and progressive, which would involve spending a lot of money for medications, treatment, care, and rehabilitation of the patients. The cost of the therapy for patients, however, will depend largely on the type and severity of the condition, including the incidence of motor fluctuations. According to the PhRMA Foundation, the cost of medication each year may run up to $2,500, and surgical bills can cost up to $100,000 per patient.

One way to address the high costs involved in the treatment of Parkinson's disease is funding more research to find a better and less expensive treatment. Further research on this serious condition can also contribute to finding a cure that might just help better manage the symptoms in Parkinson's disease or better treatment to hopefully decrease them.

Bill Bucklew and Walk4Parkinsons

Charities and fundraisers for causes such as Breast Cancer Awareness, HIV, and Parkinson’s disease have been organized for many years. These acts of great deeds have accomplished so much and contributed positively to hundreds and thousands of lives. A lot of success stories have originated from such campaigns, helping trustees and everyone that benefits from them live a higher quality life. Hopefully, by the end of this article, readers do not just gain added knowledge and information on diseases such as Parkinson’s and the measures that people have taken to help the cause, but it will also inspire and spark people’s interest to participate in similar campaigns for the betterment of many lives.

One amazing campaign for Parkinson’s disease is called Walk4Parkinsons, which was launched by a man named Bill Bucklew from Wilmette, Illinois. Bill has been an active member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and has participated in many fundraising efforts with the goal of raising money to fund research on Parkinson’s and discuss the extensive benefits given by public health.

Bill’s story started in 2012 when he was diagnosed with an early onset of Parkinson’s disease at the age of 43. Since then, he became an active advocate for improving research and finding a cure for his condition. He became a research participant in the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative and joined fundraisers in partnership with Team Fox. His fundraising efforts include hiking through Mount Kilimanjaro back in 2014 and participated in the Rock the Ridge 50-mile endurance challenge in 2015. He has always loved adventures and he took his diagnosis as a challenge and an opportunity to help other people like him. To read more about Bill’s inspiring story, visit this link.

His next mission is to run 2,500 miles across the United States, a fundraiser to help speed up in finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Bill’s fundraising campaign, which is called Walk4Parkinsons, starts off from Tybee Island, Georgia and ends in San Diego, California. This is just in time for the New Year. Bill has become a true and amazing advocate for Parkinson’s disease, and he has also attended the second annual Public Health Fair that took place at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to represent and talk about the importance of increasing federal funding research on Parkinson’s.

One of the goals of Walk4Parkinsons is to spread awareness about Parkinson’s disease. Within the 2,500 miles of road that will be traversed by Bill, he plans on talking to whoever he meets along the road about his advocacy. According to Bill, he is very driven about this fundraiser as his dad was also diagnosed with the same condition.

Currently, Bill has already started his wonderful and selfless journey. He has reached out to so many people along his route. To anyone who wants to keep track of Bill’s progress or help out with the campaign, just click on Lastly, Parkinson’s Canada has also been an active advocate for Parkinson’s disease, and they offer a transparent timeline and update of current work on the disease.

Other Fundraisers for Parkinson’s

There are also other campaigns and fundraisers that aim to improve research for Parkinson’s disease such as the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center, a verified non-profit agency, which launched online funding last 2014. They have raised an exact amount of $554,061. The money goes to funding research and hopefully a discovery of a cure to Parkinson’s. Another one is a campaign by Parkinson’s UK, which is called We Won’t Wait. Its goal is to raise awareness and find relevant discoveries to hopefully have a breakthrough in Parkinson’s research. Their online campaign features a woman named Donna, a Parkinson's disease patient who is committed to supporting the advocacies held by the campaign. Furthermore, the We Won’t Wait campaign also hopes to raise awareness of the fact that the drug, Levodopa, is dated for Parkinson's and has remained unchanged for 50 years. Currently, there is no other medication available that could slow down or stop the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Currently, a lot of research has been taken into action to address the problems experienced by patients, and some of them are contributed by fundraisers such as Walk4Parkinsons. It is fortunate that there are people like Bill and others who are strong advocates of such a serious medical condition. Hopefully, the joint efforts of medical professionals, including everyone in society, will finally raise awareness for Parkinson's disease and help discover its cure.